Oct 162008

Jonathon Porritt has a good crack at CSR on his blog today.. I’ve just posted this response on his site:“A typically robust and highly readable post. I agree with much of it, particularly your accurate account of the hollowness of ethical positioning in the banking sector. It’s very likely, at least in Western economies, that the term ‘CSR’ may not be long for this world. But your hyperbole on its imminent demise is unhelpful. Although we would probably agree on the immense gulf between shallow ‘CSR programmes’ and the proper corporate embedding of sustainability in its broadest sense, it is surprising to see you coming out so strongly against what to many is still a desirable business objective. Not least because you yourself did so very much to create a business appetite for it in the first place, for which the world owes you a lot. We certainly don’t look to banks for real leadership on these issues – but we didn’t when they were rich either. Whatever people call it, the quest for responsibility must go on. I would have thought the present crisis makes a stronger case for corporate responsibility than ever before. Implying that the concept is dead plays into the hands of the many companies who still think ‘business as usual’ is an acceptable option. When you came out in favour of BP’s Target Neutral programme, did you think everything about that company was responsible? I hope not! But you were right to praise them. Please don’t lose all faith in CSR. What it’s called doesn’t really matter in my view. The best companies in the world, like Innocent Drinks, don’t even need a name for it. They just do it.”

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